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When it comes to sporting events, I’m really only in it for the food. As a kid, when I went to baseball games with my dad, my mind was on killing time until the seventh-inning stretch, when I’d be allowed to have ice cream. In high school, football games were all about the soft pretzels (and flirting, of course). And to my mind, Super Bowl Sunday is about snacks, dips and wacky commercials.
While there’s nothing wrong with classics like queso dip (made from only the very best processed cheeses) and blender salsas, I do get a kick out of making fancied-up versions of traditional dippy dishes. I’ve entertained a number in recent days and two that have bubbled to the top of my big game hit parade are Trisha Yearwood’s Hot Corn Dip and Alton Brown’s Onion Dip From Scratch.
The Hot Corn Dip is one of those addictive creations where you mix up a few ingredients, scrape the whole mess into an ovenproof bowl and bake it until bubbly (I’m drooling a little just thinking about it). It can be prepped ahead of time and baked off just before the game starts. Served with tortilla chips, it’s a good snacking time.
For those who prefer their dips to be chilled and tangy, the Onion Dip From Scratch is awfully tasty. It hits all the notes you remember from batches made from packets of soup mix, but without the chemicals and bits of freeze-dried onion. It can be made a few days in advance and then simply stirred prior to serving.
Before you start cooking, read these tips:
— Trisha’s recipe calls for Mexican corn. If you don’t see it on your grocery store shelves, use regular corn and add some chopped red bell pepper.
— In Alton’s onion dip recipe, it says that it takes 20 minutes to caramelize onions. In my experience, it takes more like 35-40 minutes to get a good caramelization going. I recommend planning accordingly.
— If you want to cut some calories from this dip fest, try cooking up a batch of your own oven-baked tortilla chips. It’s easy and feels slightly more virtuous than a store-bought sack.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.